NEW YORK – Nearly seven months into the launch of a new morning show, CBS said Thursday it will replace co-host Erica Hill with chief White House correspondent Norah O’Donnell.
O’Donnell will team with Charlie Rose and Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” the third-rated morning news show behind ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today.” She’ll begin the new job shortly after the Democratic and Republican national conventions are over.
CBS is taking a more serious news approach than its rivals in the morning with the new show. It hasn’t clicked yet in the ratings, yet CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager said he is encouraged by recent positive trends.
CBS’ move comes a month after the “Today” show made a well-publicized switch by removing Ann Curry as co-anchor and replacing her with Savannah Guthrie. The long-dominant NBC show has plunged in the ratings this year and has been second to “GMA” since Guthrie took over.
Both the ABC and NBC shows generally get about double the audience of “CBS This Morning.”
O’Donnell will be starting her new job just as “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts takes a medical leave. Roberts said Thursday she will leave the show in late August or early September to undergo a bone marrow transplant. She has MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease.
Roberts will have some high-powered subs -- Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters and Kelly Ripa will be among the people filling in, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said.
Hill and CBS are talking about whether she will have a future role at the network. She was the lone holdover when “CBS This Morning” was launched in January, replacing “The Early Show.”
O’Donnell, who came to CBS from NBC, is one of Fager’s highest-profile hires since taking over more than a year ago as CBS News boss.
Frazier Moore of the Associated Press in Beverly Hills, Calif., contributed to this report.